Life is a Dog in a Rainbow Flip Dress

Maggie Rainbow Dress

The Mister and I went to get our taxes done last week, and our preparer asked me about the blog. “I’m not doing much anymore,” I said. I shrugged my shoulders and figured it conveyed my embarrassment and disappointment as well as anything.

“That’s too bad,” she said.

“It is,” The Mister agreed.

It is. It really is, because I used to get an enormous amount of enjoyment writing here. I still do, though I tell myself I lack time to write. I don’t, not really. What I lack is the courage to carve out an area of my life that is mine and only mine, no matter what anyone else thinks.

The students found my blog. Then the parents, followed by the teachers. It’s been fine, of course, because my content is tame by anyone’s standards. I only write about dinosaur erotica on Fridays, and most people are too busy planning their weekend to catch those posts.

But, let’s say they’re back to work on Monday and don’t feel like changing another bed pan. They might make their way over here and read that post where I accidentally necked a guy during a failed side-hug. I want to warn them that they’re reading crap to avoid touching crap, and that my archives are a dangerous place where only people comfortable with the word “quirky” will feel at home. Don’t do it, I want to cry out. Your Monday will still be about poop!

If I’m being honest–and that’s my problem, I’m often honest and opinionated–I worry my writing will embarrass the boys. It’s assumed I will embarrass myself, but embarrassing the boys kind of kills me.

My solution to this problem is to censor myself and write maturely about mature things. So far, this hasn’t worked. I sit down to Adult Write and come up empty. I can’t do it. I can no more write about mortgages and how to pack a PlanetBox than I can vote for Donald Trump.* Everyone has their line in the sand.

“You should try writing again,” our tax preparer said. “It’d be good for your tax return.”

“That, and I think it’d make you happy,” said The Mister.

I’m not unhappy, per se. I’m just lacking a place to share the thoughts and stories that crowd my mind. Instagram works, but I miss punctuation and paragraphs. I miss the details. When I shared the story of Maggie and her rainbow flip dress on Instagram, I didn’t have enough room to talk about the guy in the vet’s waiting room who comes in at 9:00 am on the dot because they have coffee, and hell if he’s going to pay for the swill on the streets. I didn’t have enough room to talk about the other guy who said his wife has a fine ass, if you’re into barn doors. I didn’t have enough room to talk about the woman who dropped off her dog for teeth cleaning and said, “Mama will be right here when you wake up, Toby. Mama loves you, Toby. Mama says don’t worry, Toby. Mama knows you’ll be okay, Toby.”

Who the hell names their dog Toby?

These stories have a place on the internet because they’re the stories that earn you blank stares with people in real life. No way would I share my vet chronicles in the faculty lounge, the same way I wouldn’t admit that sometimes I see (non-hipster) people wearing sweatshirts with pictures of wolves howling at the moon, and it takes all my willpower to keep from walking up to them and asking them what’s up with the sweatshirt. Like, I really want to know more about the entire buying process. Is the wolf their favorite animal? Do they own sweatshirts featuring other animals? How hard was it to find the sweatshirt: did they stumble upon it, or did they search with intent? I assume they were Team Jacob.

Life is funny, weird, amazing, unbelievable, ugly, and awesome. Life is a dog in a rainbow flip dress, and I’m making it my job to write about it.

* I own two PlanetBoxes, which both boys have used since 1st grade. I own them and I like them, but I can’t imagine taking a picture of their contents and writing out the details every day without my brain slipping out of my ears.

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  1. I miss your regular writing and I love the additions to the rainbow dog dress story, even though I found what you shared on Instagram to be plenty delightful. I fully understand needing to find the right balance and not wanting to embarrass your kids though. You’re in my RSS reader and I’ll be here for you whenever you are ready to speak up (even though I am an infrequent commenter at best).

    Does the vet not care about the guy coming in to get coffee? I would think at some point they’d have to be like “hey, buddy, coffee is for, you know, immediate customers.” Unless the price of an extra cup of coffee per day doesn’t phase them and they just appreciate that someone thinks highly of the coffee-making skills of the person responsible for setting it out daily.

    And where DO you find a wolf sweatshirt? I bet that person is the Friend Who Loves Wolves, so every time you see a wolf-themed novetly item, you’re purchasing it for that individual. Or they’re super tight with Gina from Brooklyn 99, who is often seen wearing clothing with a wolf motif, as it’s her “spirit animal,” though I read you’re not supposed to use that phrase anymore because of cultural appropriation. An apparently acceptable substitute is “patronus” which I’m actually…kind of okay with.

  2. I wondered about reconciling the blog with your school family and if that would be a problem for you. I hope you find a way to keep writing. You have a unique voice and point of view. It would be a shame to waste that talent, for your sake and for ours. I love your stories!

  3. – Standing up as if at a support group – Hi, my name is Kathy and when I was one my parents named our dog Toby.

    Yay! You’re back!

  4. I love your writing, Jules! I thought about you the other day and how you walked every day for a year and took pictures. It was inspiring, but not enough to make me walk every day! I’ve taken your book suggestions for my grandchildren; love reading your library adventures; stories about your kids are great. I’d love to do a blog, just don’t know how to get started. Keep writing…I’ll keep reading!!

  5. Really. You are an awesome writer, and I reserve saying that for truly awesome writers. If you are yearning for it, I say damn the torpedoes and just forge ahead. Your blog is one of the only ones I enjoy immensely and look forward to reading and so it has been deeply missed. We have lots of places to go for how-to stuff and the like, but your own brand of often acerbic, ridiculous, genuine and hilarious wit is rare. I’ll be very happy if you start up again.

  6. I can’t imagine how intimidating it would be to have a ‘real life’ audience. Random internet strangers reading your thoughts is one thing, but real people, who know you and your family? That would be weird.

    I always enjoy your writings = )
    Also, I have NO IDEA what a planet box is.

  7. As someone who has let blogging fall by the wayside, I understand how easy it is to get out of the habit. But I have missed your posts very much!

  8. I miss you posts, you always make me smile. And BTW, I once had a cat named Toby (Tobias). So that kinda answers you question!

  9. If you’re going to write, I don’t understand why you insist on snatching the words right out of my heart.

    I want to be brave, but I’m afraid my thoughts are stupid, my sentence formation ill conceived and my art less than perfect. All of which is probably true, but only because of this: “What I lack is the courage to carve out an area of my life that is mine and only mine, no matter what anyone else thinks”

    Somehow, just knowing someone else has the same hesitations about their own form of art lends a little courage. So, thanks for that.

  10. Hi, I missed you.

    I wish I had funny things to say, but I just woke up (and I’m more of a humor-appreciator anyway). I’m watching BARNEY MILLER right now. Did you watch that show? It’s hilarious.

    I’m glad you write once in a while. Come back soon. If you want.

    Hallie from Shaolin

  11. And I was hoping your * would be about the Donald. Only slightly disappointed in that, because I was so happy to see you post something. I don’t comment often, but I do enjoy your writing and agree with the Mister and the tax preparer.

  12. So does this mean you’re back?! I LOVE the quirkiness of your blog.
    As for the boys – well, I only “know” them from stories you’ve shared, but they seem to be very solid individuals. They seem just as capable as I was at their age to respond to mom-quirk-attacks with a shrug and a “I can’t control what my mom does” look. I remember a post awhile back when you came to the decision of writing less about your boys since they were getting older. I still fully support that decision. I still very much miss the other quirky stories. I hope you really are back on a regular basis. Everyone needs happy time of their own – including you!

  13. Hi Jules,
    Always happy to see a new post! I love your writing whatever you choose to write about. And, of my goodness, Maggie in a rainbow flip dress!!

  14. I love reading your posts partly because you’re a stranger that I can relate to. I hope you keep writing and making me smile and feel like I am not the only one who wonders about adult females who wear wolf sweatshirts ( or Disney characters)!!!

  15. Thank you, thank you Preparer of tax return. I’m so glad she persuaded you back to your blog. I have missed your writing. Your quirky stories are brilliant, funny and well written. I’ll take your stories of crazy, everyday over ‘blog content’ any day. Thank you.

  16. So I am sitting in a pediatrician’s waiting room as I read this (in Singapore, the only reason I mention this is that Singaporeans are a bit more reserved than Americans and therefore the following got me quite a few stares) and I was laughing out loud about the wolf sweatshirt stuff…… I lost it when you said they must be team Jacob. Good stuff Jules! Glad you are back writing… Even if just every once in awhile.

  17. I really like how you write, but you hold yourself to such unrealistically high standards. Sidebar: unrealistically is a word now, if it wasn’t before. I make it so.

    I talk *in my own professional office where we have pristine clean desks with halfwalls and smoked glass and headsets and million dollar budgets* to my coworkers about burps, farts, the inadvisability of having a personality like mine in an open office, and they talk to me about their burps, farts, bad diets, kids with illnesses, and all the other stuff too. I went to a funeral for a friend’s father and she’s 1/10th my size and when I hugged her my orangutan arms wrapped around her so much that I grabbed her side boob. AT HER FATHER’S FUNERAL. I grabbed a friend (also a coworker, should mention that too) by her side boob at her funeral, and then apologized, and she was laughing really hard but maybe she was laughing because she had just been assaulted in front of witnesses AT HER FATHER’S FUNERAL.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself when you sit down to write. Mind the grammar but yanno – tell your stories. Don’t grab side boobs.

  18. I know we’ve talked about it, but once people I know started talking to me about the things I was writing, I really started to struggle. My posts weren’t just going out into the ether where like minded people would find them, but real people who I knew in real life were reading them and trying to TALK to me and wondering who the crazy lady was who was stumbling and stuttering and trying to “do words”. And now any time I try to sit down and write anything, I feel like I might as well be talking to a group of people. Thank you very much, no. I’ll just type out this paragraph 25 times and then delete it so you don’t see what a social awkward idiot my children have for a parent. It’s the worst kind of writer’s block because no amount of creativity is going to overcome it. It’s stage fright pure and simple. (For me, anyway.)

    I love the story of rainbow flip dress. And the vet’s office. And I DO hope you’ll start writing your funny, sweet, thoughtful stories again. You’re one of my favorite places on the internet and I miss you.

  19. I’m glad I read this and caught the rest of the story about visiting the vet. I have a very close friend who carries her dog like a baby. It pains me that I missed any warning signs that she would turn into a big weirdo when she got a dog. She’s like a sister, so I can say this to her face and get away with it. Anyway, I agree with the other commenters <– that's a real word, right? : too hard on yourself, I enjoy your stories, miss your writing, etc. Though, I understand the worry about embarrassing your boys. At least you have the courage to write/post in a public space. I struggle with posting simple comments (!) in a public space because someone I don't know will read them and wonder who the random person is and judge my grammar and sentence structure.

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